In my last post I referred to the arrows that have been placed in our souls, due to painful circumstances and relationships encountered on our journey. These wounds, which we would rather neglect, can fester for years, resulting in emotional pain that men try to bury. These wound need to be acknowledge, so that we are able to carry them gracefully not painfully.
The Psalmist knew how to pray over his pain. “I am feeble and utterly crushed; I groan in anguish of heart. All my longings lie open before you, Lord; my sighing is not hidden from you” (Ps. 38:8-9). If we neglect to embrace the greater story of God’s love for us in the midst of our wounds, we can become trapped in our own small, dark, and painful story. We need to let the light of God’s love and grace shine on those dark inner wounds we have tired to hide for years.
Richard Rohr points out that in our limited story, “our wounds can make us embittered victims…..The Christian way is to embrace our wounds and accept them as the price of the journey.” We do this, when by faith we allow Jesus into our story of pain. His larger, redemptive story relating to our pain then becomes part of our story. In the process we are able to accept and integrate our wounds into our story. “The healing lies in the fact that our wounds no longer defeat us or cause us to harm ourselves or others. Wounds become our daily offering to God, and they develop in us compassion toward the weakness of others.” (Rohr). Julian of Norwich has said, “our wounds become our honors.”
Men we have no trouble finding help for our physical wounds. But our spiritual and emotional wounds are a different matter. We hide from them, while they go on creating difficulty in our relationships. Remember that Jesus is our healer. “He took up our infirmities and bore our diseases.” (Mat 8:17). My strong encouragement is to let Jesus into your whole story, which includes those painful arrows. It will take time for the healing to come. But in time they will become part of your redemptive story. You will be able to talk about the arrows, while giving thanks and praise to God for the healing.
Matthew West in his song “The Healing Has Begun” expresses this well: “There is a world full of people/dying from broken hearts/holding unto their guilt/thinking they fell too far/so don’t be afraid to show them your beautiful scares/they’re the proof, you’re the proof.”